In vulgar language, it is called caterpillar to the first larval stage of insects of the order lepidoptera. They look like worms, sometimes segmented and with the rudiments of the three pairs of paws characteristic of adults. The next state is called pupa and usually forms within a cocoon.
Caterpillars usually feed voraciously and can reach sizes of more than 10 cm, although the adult insect rarely reaches these dimensions. Some feed on plant leaves and can be a pest in crops and gardens. Others develop within maturing fruits – the female lays the eggs inside the flower’s ovary and the larva feeds on the pericarp or even the seed. In other cases, eggs can be placed under the skin of a living animal and caterpillars parasitis. The caterpillars of flies feed on dead animals or waste – they are detritivores.
There are caterpillars in Brazil, called killer taturanas, whose poison can lead to death.
However, not all caterpillars are harmful – both to man and to ecosystems. The silkworm, for example, is the larva that, when passing the pupa, builds its cocoon with silk. Many caterpillars are part of the feeding of various peoples. one example is mandorová, which is considered a delicacy in countries such as Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
As it grows, the caterpillar changes skin a few times. The period between two seedlings is called instar. The caterpillar stops feeding on the last instar, empties the stomach, fixed and suffers the last molt, from which arises the pupa or chrysalis
Because they move in a similar way, they are called caterpillars to metal straps (or “tracks”) that attach the wheels of vehicles that require high traction capacities, such as tractors used in the construction of roads and earthmoving, certain vehicles such as tanks, etc. Another origin of this caterpillar term would be related to Caterpillar, an American company specializing in heavy machinery used in construction and mining (Caterpillar means caterpillar).